Some facts about Office Web Apps on Windows Live – Co-authoring for all web apps by the end of 2010

5001.8004_officelogo_5f00_30b2a26a_29844c93 News Office Web Apps was released as final version on Windows Live SkyDrive last month, together with the launch of other Windows Live Wave 4 web services (all except Hotmail, Contacts, Alerts, FrameIt, and Admin Center). While great as it is, little do we know about some of the limitations with this v1 release of the product. We’ve been reading some of the fine text at various official websites to find out more about what these limitations are, so that if you had accidently “pushed the limits” on Office Web Apps, at least you know why it wasn’t working. So here they are:

Mobile Support

Currently only Word and PowerPoint files can be viewed using Office Web Apps  Mobile Viewer on “supported mobile devices” – these include Safari 4 on the iOS, and Internet Explorer 7 on the upcoming Windows Phone 7. Interestingly, while there is an Excel Web App Mobile Viewer on SharePoint 2010, this is not available on Office Web Apps on SkyDrive. However, if you have the iOS or Windows Phone 7, you can simply open Excel files directly in your mobile browser, as Excel files are natively supported.

Remember that these Office Web Apps Mobile Viewers, as the name suggests, allow viewing of the Office documents only, so don’t expect to edit them on your mobile browsers. Also, OneNote is currently not supported in either browsers, however you will be able to open OneNote notebooks directly via Windows Phone 7’s Office hub, once it is released later this year.

File Size Limit

We know that there is a 25GB limit for files stored on SkyDrive, and that each file cannot exceed the limit of 50MB. While the 50MB limit applies for Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote files, there is a special limit for Excel files – a file size limit of 2MB per file for Excel documents. This should explain why you weren’t able to upload your large Excel spreadsheets to SkyDrive, if you’ve ever tried doing that. We haven’t seen anyone on LiveSide asking about this yet – so I guess not many people have reached this limit yet.

Co-authoring

Co-authoring is a tricky thing to explain, as there’s two parts to this story – you can co-author using Office Web Apps, or you can co-author SkyDrive documents using the Office 2010 client applications. This is probably best explained using a matrix table below:

  Co-authoring using Office Web Apps (on SkyDrive) Co-authoring using Office 2010 client applications (of documents stored on SkyDrive)
Word

7220.525pxblack_x_svg_4f16cd7f News

8015.600pxblack_check_svg_29acda11 News

Excel

8015.600pxblack_check_svg_29acda11 News

7220.525pxblack_x_svg_4f16cd7f News

PowerPoint

7220.525pxblack_x_svg_4f16cd7f News

8015.600pxblack_check_svg_29acda11 News

OneNote

8015.600pxblack_check_svg_29acda11 News

8015.600pxblack_check_svg_29acda11 News

It is surprising to see that Excel Web App supports co-authoring, while the Excel 2010 client application itself doesn’t allow you to co-author Excel documents stored on SkyDrive – and we can’t seem to think of a valid reason why this is so. Also, although currently only Excel Web App and OneNote Web App supports co-authoring, a post on Microsoft’s Channel 10 website seems to indicate that co-authoring will arrive for the remaining tw
o Web Apps (Word and PowerPoint) by the second half of this year.

We encourage you to check out our Wave 4 Wiki for more information about Office Web Apps. If you have any additional questions you’d like answered, feel free to leave a comment in the relevant pages in the Wave 4 Wiki!